For many young professionals, buying your first home is a significant life goal. In a booming Atlanta market, more people are seeing the value in purchasing a home over the increasingly high costs of renting. First-time buyers made up 35 percent of nation-wide sales in 2016 and those under age 35 made up 61 percent of first-time buyer transactions. But, ask anyone who’s been through the experience and they’ll tell you, buying your first home can be daunting. After all, it’s arguably the biggest purchase one will ever make. Doing your research, choosing an ideal location, and accounting for closing costs, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and all the financial factors can make you feel like Russell Crowe from A Beautiful Mind.
Fortunately, when you’re on the front lines supplying trade professionals across the country with kitchen and bathroom products, you pick up a thing or two about what to look for in a good home. In the past few months, three of our Account Managers closed on their first homes and were able to utilize the expert advice they provide their customers every day. We sat down with them to learn about their experience, get their advice for other young professionals who are looking to buy, and learn how working at SUPPLY.com helped out in the process.
Dana bought a house in Decatur at the end of last year. “I chose that area, because it’s up and coming, close to all the places I like to be, but still ‘outside’ of the city, so I don’t have to be in the middle of a ton of traffic,” said Towns.
When talking about her experience, she added, “Receiving the keys to my new home was an incredible experience. I was instantly overwhelmed and relieved at the same time. Relieved because I never thought that I’d be able to get to that moment myself. Overwhelmed because I automatically thought about all the furniture I wanted to buy, artwork I wanted to hang, and the renovations I needed to save for.”
Speaking of those renovations, Dana has a few in mind and her product knowledge helped them immensely. “My knowledge of plumbing and lighting products helped me tremendously! My realtor would show me a house and I would look at the fixtures, toilets, and the sinks. If there were a lot of low-end brands, I would know the entire home was strictly builder grade. But if there were Grohe fixtures, custom vanities, or even deeper than normal sinks, I knew a lot of effort and money went into the home. My realtor now uses that advice when she is showing homes! I won a Danze Foodie faucet the last time they came and visited us, and it looks great in my kitchen. I just bought a Grohe Aquatunes speaker for my shower, and I hope to change out the existing shower head to the Delta In2ition shower head, since it is a combined shower head and hand shower.”
Dana on closing day (above) and her new Foodie faucet (below)
Dana’s advice to others looking to buy a home? “Save, save, save! Once you get in the swing of saving large amounts, it becomes habit, and before you know it… you have $10,000 in your bank account! I would purposely live a frugal lifestyle last year and put the majority of my paychecks into savings.”
Chris pulled the trigger on his first house in Marietta at the end of last year as well. “The house we ended up choosing was the fourth house we saw! I decided on that area because it is a fairly easy commute to the office and I am pretty familiar with the area since I grew up about 30 minutes away from there, so I knew it was a good area,” he explained. “The biggest factors were that the surrounding neighborhoods are newly developed and the school system is good which always helps for resale value. A tip I would have for someone looking to get their first home would be to just jump in. Take your first step like contacting a realtor or getting approved. From there, don’t feel rushed, new houses are popping up every day so make sure you love everything about the house you are buying. After all, you will be living in it.”
“The reason I bought the house I did was because there really weren’t any projects that would be lingering over my head. After speaking to others about their first house, they said projects always seem easy to do, but, when you actually move in, you never end up doing most of them,” continued Cathen. “The owner of the house was initially intending on renting out the house so all of the bathrooms had been redone, the kitchen was remodeled, new roof, the carpets/wood floors were replaced and they even built a new deck in the backyard. Knowing the only projects that I would be doing would be adding a fence and potentially converting my car port into a garage was very appealing.”
Chris Cauthen’s new house, inside & out
“I started at SUPPLY.com a few months prior to buying so I knew what to look for with the plumbing and lighting. I could definitely tell when shortcuts were taken during a remodel and the items that may look nice aesthetically but are not quality products,” noted Cauthen.
He added, “I have purchased a couple outdoor lights so far. But even months later, we are still unpacking boxes and since the remodel was well done, I am in no rush to replace anything. I am planning on getting some nice faucets and maybe toilets in the near future though!”
Jessyca, an Account Manager since 2014, just signed on her first home two weeks ago! “It’s in Lithonia, GA or Dekalb County. I wanted to be outside the city but close enough to take an Uber. My dad, who’s a real estate broker, found this perfect little spot in Stonecrest near Atlanta Sports City – a planned soccer complex to support the city’s growing appetite for soccer.” When asked about her signing experience, Chapman joked, “It was a lot of signing. After about the sixth document, the quality of my signature started deteriorating! So, I was basically scribbling for 40 pages of paper work. Once it was done, and they handed me the keys, it didn’t really hit me until I pulled my car into the garage. That was an awesome feeling!”
“I’m very aware of how my plumbing products work so when it comes to something breaking I believe I have the tools and contacts I need to fix things quickly,” she explained. “I also know how to create the most energy and water efficient home, so my bills will stay low. The builders put commercial-grade products in, so I’m working on switching my fixtures to Grohe. I’ve purchased a Grohe grab bar and shower head.”
Jessyca & the big moment – signing day
Jessyca’s advice to future home buyers? “You want to live in a place that you’re most comfortable. No matter where you are, you want to be able to sleep peacefully at night.”